Rockets in Swaddling Clothes


I must’ve been an adorable child.

And a brilliant torpedo.

When I was a tiny young thing, just a babe in arms, my dad would take me on walks. Up and down the streets we’d toddle, dawdling at things I cooed at. Being only seven-ish months old, I would be set inside a child-carrier, fashioned like a backpack. I would sit facing my father’s back with my little legs kicking just under his ribcage, and my arms free to alternately point at things and pull my father’s hair, depending on how cute I was feeling at the time. This made for a rather convenient seating arrangement.

And an excellent launch pad.

My father, ignorant of my my aspirations as a rocket, would be walking blithely along, until he felt a sudden shift in my weight.

Me, being a resourceful and ambitious missile, would have placed my stubby feet against the metal framework holding the cloth of the seat in position. Hoisting my self upwards, I would straighten my legs out, balancing my weight on one leg.

By this point, my father realized I was trying to stand up, even if he didn’t fully grasp my intention to launch myself skyward yet. Trying to gauge my reaction, he’d let me stand with my feet on the inside of the cloth seat, bracing my arms and burying my chubby fingers in his hair if I didn’t seem ready to jump.

However, when he wasn’t paying attention, I could catch my chance.

Having convinced daddy I wasn’t going to hurl myself out of the carrier, I could grab the metal framework bracing me to my father’s back, and then have enough leverage to fling myself upwards and onwards.

You don’t have to be able to walk in order to know how to push off. My trajectory was really just wherever I was facing at the time. My chubby arms outstretched, and my waddling legs halfway up the inside of the carrier, I could almost taste the freedom flying would give me. All I had to do was launch myself out.

My dad, suddenly realizing what I was about to do, would swiftly wrench his arms backwards and reach up into the seat, flailing his fingers in order to find a leg to snatch back down into it’s proper place. Trying to put your arms behind your back, and take hold of a squirming, wriggly toddler, while remaining upright trying to make some semblance of normalcy for the neighbors and other pedestrians was no easy feat. His shoulderblades must have had amazing dexterity, and his elbows double-jointed.

After having located a rosy-toed foot, he’d pull my legs back through their respective holes.

Thwarted, I would sit back down in my little seat, legs swinging. I was defeated, this time.

But next time…

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